The second tier of English football is less known for it’s foreign exports, more for it’s aggressive and full throttle nature; especially with the likes of Michael Brown, Paul Mckenna, Adam El-Abd and recently promoted Kevin Nolan.
The Championship is an unforgivable league, and having that extra bite can often leave you in hot bother with suspensions or it can leave teams fearing you, the unpredictable nature of being ‘dirty’ is a dish best served risky.
Dirty by name, Dirty by nature, Leeds United have spent the last 40 years labelled ‘Dirty Leeds’ largely down to the famous Don Revie side. However, the trend has continued well into the 21st century, with such players as David Batty, Danny Mills, Vinnie Jones and now Michael Brown all known for the ‘odd’ leg break.
Now with Neil Warnock in charge, the man who once saw his Sheffield United team reduced to 7 men in a game that was inevitably abandoned against WBA, the dirty approach doesn’t look like fading just yet at Elland Road.
They say statistics never lie, as Brighton & Hove Albion officially finished bottom of the Championship Fair Play League last season, notching up 83 yellow cards and a whopping 8 red cards. Gus Poyet’s disciplined footballing style was perhaps lost in translation when it came to the discipline of his players. Adam El-Abd is most certainly the hard hitter in the team, most notably with his skinhead looks and love for shoving the elbow in.
Only one team can shamefully boast the most red cards in the league. That team being Leicester City, acquiring 9 red cards over the course of the last season, they most certainly weren’t listening when they said make the extra man count. A team that is full of talented footballers, overshadowed by the need to put the foot in and becoming last season’s underachievers, the blame game could well lie with seeing red more often than most.
Astonishingly only one red card for Hull City last season, especially with the presence of Andy Dawson, Jack Hobbs and Paul Mckenna. Languishing near the wrong end of the Fair Play League, Hull City certainly have plenty of no nonsense ankle nibblers that are one miss-timed tackle away from an early bath.
From the industrial heart of the North East, Middlesbrough live up to their hard-working and gritty roots. Fair Play relegation fodder last season, the likes of Barry Robson, Julio Arca, Nicky Bailey, Stephen McManus and Matthew Bates are all capable of leaving floating birds around one’s head.
71 yellow cards and 7 red cards later, Middlesbrough have firmly established themselves as one of the dirty players in the Championship, and this season surely will follow suit despite the departure of card happy Barry Robson.